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9 July 2009

UNISON slams Edinburgh Council's attack on low paid workers

UNISON, the largest trade union representing Edinburgh City Council workers, has slammed the council for grossly underfunding its 'Modernising Pay' proposals, resulting in 'an attack on low paid workers'.

"A scheme which is meant to meet equal pay legislation that is intended to benefit low paid women workers, has resulted in thousands of them being even worse off", said UNISON Edinburgh Branch President John Stevenson.

"As groups like social care workers, home carers and low paid clerical staff received letters from the council this week, they found their pay would be getting worse, not better.

"Alongside them, gardeners, road workers and cleansing staff are also finding their wages slashed. People have bills to pay. They have long term commitments and many are wondering how they are going to manage".

"The main problem is that the council is putting less than half the money into the scheme than most other councils in Scotland", said UNISON lead negotiator Kevin Duguid.

"On top of that, the council is trying to push through unrelated changes to conditions that mean even staff whose grade goes up, find that their actual earnings go down", he added.

Among the groups affected are night shift workers who deliver essential services in residential units and in emergency social work and other services.

"The council has had ten years to sort this out and at the end of the day they are trying to do it on the cheap. The most miserly council in Scotland looks like it is trying to deliver equal pay for low paid women by cutting their wages. That is a disgrace", said Mr Stevenson.

UNISON is taking legal advice on the next steps that could include a ballot or a series of ballots on industrial action.

"We know times are tough for everyone but we cannot stand by and watch the lowest paid losing out to pay for the council's mistakes", he said.


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